New preschool in St. Clairsville

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – With limited class sizes and an unending supply of children waiting to fill them, a new preschool is always a welcome sight in any community.

It’s a situation where demands nearly always exceeds supply.

But that hasn’t stopped Stacy Thoburn and Dawn Schoolcraft, the co-owners of the soon to be opened A2Z Preschool in town, from trying to offer something different.

”We’ll be the only private preschool offering all-day classes,” Thoburn said. ”There are a lot of parents out there in two-income families and they are spending equally as much, if not more, to send their kids to day care.

”If you’re going to be paying, why not send them to preschool where they will be able to learn.”

Thoburn, who has two children of her own now in the school system, obtained her on-the-job training as a stay at-home mom.

”I got my training the old fashioned way,” she joked.

She will be joined by Schoolcraft, who has been a Kindergarten teacher at St. Clairsville Elementary for the last 10 years and is experienced in education young minds.

Thoburn explained that Schoolcraft enjoys her job, but is somewhat uncertain with any Ohio Senate Bill 5 changes and what might become of her current position and felt it was time for a change.

A2Z is currently preregistering students for the fall and accepts children ages 3-through-5 who are potty trained.

As Thoburn explained, the uniqueness of A2Z is in its hours of availability.

The school will be open Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. until 3:15 p.m. and offers before and after care for students.

Tuition is based on which of three programs parents opt to enroll their child in, including 2, 3 and 5 day per week classes.

For those opting for twice a week, instruction is on Tuesdays and Thursdays with a cost of $292 per month or $146 bi-monthly.

Three times per week is Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for $378 or $189 bi-monthly.

The full time instruction is $570 per month or $285 bi-monthly.

“Our staff recognizes the importance of balanced growth so that we can provide opportunities for mental, physical and emotional growth through a variety of creative experiences.

While the building is still being outfitted to suit the school’s needs, a lot of the materials are already in place.

Inside you can find your general assortment of preschool materials designed to foster creative play, artistic expression and teamwork.

But one aspect Thoburn is touting is the computer station, complete with a few Dell computers so even young children can get a jump start to the wonders of technology.

The class day is structured in a way that touches of all areas of development from math and social skills to a concentration on music, movement and exercise. Thoburn is trying to hit the full spectrum to further the development of the preschoolers and have them ready to hit the ground running come introduction to a Kindergarten environment.

There is also a focus on nutrition.

Parents are to provide a lunch for their child with nutritional guidelines that must be followed. Protein, grain and two foods from the fruit and vegetable group must be included in the lunch. Children are also encouraged to bring a toothbrush and toothpaste in order to hammer home the importance of proper dental hygiene.

The school also boasts a security door with alarm near the front entrance and parents will have to be buzzed in from the foyer upon entering the school.

For more information, call (740) 699-0200 or check out the school at its Web site at

An open house is scheduled for Friday and Saturday this week, from 4-7 p.m. both days.

Hughes may be reached at